Thursday, December 31, 2015

New Year's Eve 2015

To ring out the old year, I made a dinner from Pacific and Southeast Asian Cooking (aka TLPacSEA) from the Time-Life Foods of the World series. This is the latest book in my project of working my way through this series.

In all cases where fresh coconut was needed, I used grated coconut from a packet.

To start the meal, we had Banana Cows (p116). We're not big cocktails drinkers, but this was nice, barely tasted alcoholic, rum, banana, milk, vanilla, Angostura bitters. Banana and rum complement each other and the bitters took the edge off the sweet. The only problem was the quantity. One recipe fills the 12-oz glass that's asked. Not having snapped to the 12-oz part, I used 8-oz glasses. I should have made a single recipe and split that between us. But we enjoyed our cows.

For a starter, we had Lime-Marinated Scallops with Coconut Sauce (p9). I made approximately a whole recipe (7oz of scallops rather than 8oz). These would be tiny servings if six were being served and servings for four would be quite small. (On the other hand, serving all this for two was perhaps a bit much.) I used part of a can of coconut cream that was lingering in the pantry for the coconut top milk. There was an enormous amount of sauce. We'll use it as salad or veggie dressing in the next days. The dish was very tasty and very easy.

There were two mains, both things that would work well as finger food: Malaysian Curry Puffs (p7) and Saté AjamBroiled Skewered Marinated Chicken (p26).

The "puffs" are kind of mini-empanadas filled with a delicious spicy beef mixture. (I didn't get all of them well-sealed, you see.) I made a full recipe, since that's how much beef I bought (and ground in the food processor). The meat mixture is easy to make and extra yummy. I used store-bought pastry and was sorry. Home-made would have been much better. I might make the meat and use it to stuff phyllo packets or something similar.

The chicken saté was also yummy. A quarter recipe (one kip filet) would have been enough for four wooden skewers, with corresponds with the recipe. I didn't make the peanut sauce since neither of us particularly like that. I used coarse salt to help with mashing the garlic. I used store-bought ketjap manis. I sprayed the brochettes with oil rather than drizzling. Very easy to do. Very tasty.

For some vegetable matter, I went for Urab—Vegetable Salad with Spiced Coconut Dressing (p93). This recipe looked a bit questionaable to me, so I consulted Sri Owen's Indonesian Food and Cookery, where the salad is call Urap. Here I learnt that the sauce (more or less the same but using chili powder and garlic instead of sambal oelek, which was store-bought) is called bumbu. Owen says that if you're using dried coconut, you should boil the mixture with some water for 5 minutes. I boiled, but forgot to add the water, so my sauce was rather dry and crumbly rather than being any kind of runny. But it tasted fine. She always gives two versions of the salad, one with cooked veggies, the other with raw veggies (watercress, carrots, white cabbage, radishes, cuke, and spring onions)

The times given in TLPacSEA for steaming the veggies were wildly off (which is what made me consult Owen). I made about half a recipe. I did the bean sprouts for 3min (slightly less would be okay);  the cabbage, cut in wider strips than asked for, for 3.5min (a teeny bit longer might be okay if you prefer your cabbage softer); the spinach for 1.5min, which should have been no more than 1min; the green beans (haricots verts) for 5min. Owen also uses carrots, so I steamed thin slices for 5min.

Altogether a pretty salad, easy to assemble and very tasty. It would make a good dish for a pot luck or a buffet.

With a mix of Hawaiian, Malaysian, and Indonesian, this was altogether a nice dinner, everything I'd make again.

Happy 2016 to all!

Monday, December 28, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Dec-15: Clearing out the pantry night. Baked potatoes with pyramid goat cheese and cheddar and lardons. Steamed asparagus with a bit of lemon juice. A strange salad of leftover green beans and chopped walnuts with a dressing of pyramid goat cheese, olive oil, and cider vinegar. Worked really well. Followed by more pecan pie bread pudding.

Thinking I had the meal plan ready, I meant to make the shopping list today. But I didn't, so I didn't. Maybe tomorrow. Ed's ready to wait till Thursday afternoon to shop, since it was relatively empty then last week.

Tuesday/29-Dec-15: Dinner was, more or less, Thai Chicken Salad (30MinCook, p98; cookbooker). I used duck aiguilettes (the long, narrow muscle behind the breast proper). Oops, we're out of carrots; used some peeled broccoli stems for the extra crunch. No mint either, but—surprise!—there was some outside. (There really shouldn't be mint at this time of year.) Ed thought it was almost uneatably salty. I thought it was salty, but not that bad. But very tasty.

Then we finished off the pecan pie bread pudding. I didn't make the version with corn syrup, which would have tasted more pecan pie-ish, I suppose, but we did like the nuts. Next time I make my double-boiler bread pudding, I'll put some nuts in with the caramel.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/30-Dec-15: Shopping today. Cilantro was in short supply. There was a space labelled Coriander at Leclerc, but it was really Cerfeuil (chervil). The nearby Casino was closed for their very long lunch break. Found two small packages at Intermarché.

Dinner was Fish Gyros with Cucumber Tzatziki Sauce (web). Tonight's fish was lieu noir again. I made all the sauce, more or less with half the fish. Served in pita bread things, oval rather than round. Good, easy, very fast. With some store-bought rice puddings for after.

Ed started on tiling over the kitchen sink this afternoon. Hooray!

Thursday/31-Dec-15: Our New Year's Eve dinner got its own post.

Friday/1-Jan-16: We had our first meal of the year out today, and very nice it was.

Saturday/2-Jan-16: Dinner started with a half recipe of Potage Parisien with Sorrel Cream (Essential, p148; cookbooker). This is a really yummy soup, easy and relatively fast to make. This was a recommended starter for Scallops with Pea Purée (Essential, p429; cookbooker). This was okay, nothing special. For dessert, we had the last two laits du riz from shopping day.

More tiling done today.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/3-Jan-16: Eating from the freezer tonight. Two little lamb pot pies, in small square casseroles, topped with squares of pâte feuillittée. Good stuff. Then a salad, with the sauce from the lime-marinated scallops as dressing. And a mini-mag for after.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: no; #4 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #5 PASTA: no for December, no for January; #6 BREAD: no for December, no for January #7 FotW: yes for November/December, no for January/February

Friday, December 25, 2015

Christmas dinner 2015

Beet Consommé with Vegetables, Salmon, and Scallops

Cocotte Luté de Pintade aux Citron Confits
Perfect Roasted Green Beans

Alsace Pinot-Noir

Pecan Pie Bread Pudding

Ed set the table more than two hours before dinner was served and was clearly quite anxious to get that wine poured.

We started with Beet Consommé with Vegetables, Salmon, and Scallops (p113, Dinners42). The consommé was made from shredded beets and fish stock. The vegetables were an asparagus spear, a carrot stick, and a small potato each. (Now I see there was supposed to be a leek too. I bought one, but forgot to cook it. That's really okay because the plate is quite full.) There were two chunks of salmon and a scallop to go with those in each plate. A pretty nice soup course. The the beet consommé went especially well with the scallop.

For the main, I chose Cocotte Lutée de Pintade aux Citron Confits. I collected this recipe from C&V. On close reading, the recipe looked a bit odd. The photo clearly shows a bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary and these ingredients were not listed. Plus the cooking time was only one hour, which just didn't seem right for a whole bird. So I looked it up online and found the same but different recipe on the magazine site. The lutée in the title means the pot is sealed with a "rope" of flour and water dough. My tajine was just the right size.

Inside is a nicely cooked guinea hen with potatoes and preserved lemons. Very tasty it was. Served with Perfect Roasted Green Bean (MC, HandyBook).

The magazine article recommended an Alsace pinot-noir to go with the bird. This is a light red wine that indeed went well with the bird, although not as well with the soup. (Online crozes-hermitage was recommeded. No idea what that is.)

Dessert was Pecan Pie Bread Pudding (web), which turned out pretty good. I used sucre de canne (brown sugar) in the egg mixture and reduced the amount to 1/2 cup. Served with a store-bought topping of cream-and-marscapone. Doesn't look like much but it was tasty.

A small but nice dinner.

Monday, December 21, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/21-Dec-15: It was supposed to be fresh pasta tonight, but I just didn't have the oomph. So it was dried tagliatelle for a half recipe of Papparedelle with Roasted Butternut Squash (web; cookbooker). Pretty good this was. I used about half of one of our home-grown winter squash and strips of sorrel instead of arugla. Made a little salad with the second half of the red and green bell peppers, some onion, parsley topped with lemon juice and olive oil. Good it was.

Tuesday/22-Dec-15: Make us a sorrel omelette for lunch, followed by a salad. Then we went off to Limoges for a movie.

Wednesday/23-Dec-15: Ate out this evening. Nothing happened in the kitchen

Thursday/24-Dec-15: So, for various reasons we ended up doing our shopping today. We thought we'd go early, but, being ouselves, it was 11.30 when we got there. The parking lot was full. So was the store. The nice feature is that there were extra people serving in the fish department and all the checkout lines were manned (or, rather, womaned). By the time we left, there were lots of spaces in the lot. Moral: don't go early, but go after noon.

Because I planned to do Step 1 of tomorrow's dinner, dinner was easy one. But I didn't get Step 1 done, so that will put a bit of a rush on tomorrow. No big deal, I guess.

We had Grilled Fish Steaks (Q&E, p66). I had intended to buy a largish bit of dos de saumon (salmon back) for tonight and tomorrow's starter. But there was only a tiny bit of salmon, which will do for tomorrow. For tonight, I bought lieu noir, don't know the English name, but it's good. Served with Turmeric Rice (Q&E, p100), easy and tasty, and Karhai Broccoli (MJ@Home, p148), which is getting to be an old favorite. Bought a petit camembert and we had a bit of that for after.

Yogurt on overnight.

Friday/25-Dec-15: In the kitchen cooking most of the afternoon. The holiday dinner has its own post.

Saturday/26-Dec-15: Brined six or seven olives from our bigger olive tree in a pot. Tiny little things, and this probably wasn't worth the effort, but well see. This is the tree that Barbara left us. We have a littler one that's still just a baby.

Made up Jody's packet of Southwest Heirloom Bean Soup today. As a go-with there was Cayenne Cornbread (BigGerman, p182). Then a bit of camembert on the cornbread. Then a bit of pecan pie bread pudding from yesterday. We're full.

Sunday/27-Dec-15: Leftover day. Leftover bean soup for lunch. Went to a concert. Leftover pintade for dinner, along with a quickie salad of grated carrot and grated cuke with a lemon vinaigrette.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for November/December

Monday, December 14, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Dec-15: Late start today, so an early dinner, skipping lunch. And I didn't look at the plan, but made something that's been on the plan, but wasn't today. Oh well.

So we had a half recipe of Jacques Pepin's Little Shrimp Casserole (web) made with scallops and shrimp. I've made this before with some kind of fish, but didn't care for it that much. This was much better. I served with some chanterelle-shaped mushroom pasta, which I just dumped on top of the little casseroles. That worked quite well. Then a big salad. Then some cookies.

Tuesday/15-Dec-15: Scratched the Indian itch tonight. For the main, there was Shrimp in a Dark Sauce (MJ1, p91; cookbooker). I made a half recipe, using more or less all the spices. As recommended in the recipe heading, I served with Cauliflower and Potatoes (MJ1, p109; cookbooker) and Tomato, Onion, and Green Coriander Relish (MJ1, p172; cookbooker). And some plain basmati rice for the sauce. I bought a sack of frozen cauliflower last week and used more of that for the veg. Nice dinner.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/16-Dec-15: Shopping today.

The last of the cazuela for dinner tonight, with a salad, followed by a mini magnum.

Thursday/17-Dec-15: Dinner was Seared Salmon with Green Peppercorn Sauce (web). Served with some buckwheat crozets (with a bitter butter and parsley) and steamed broccoli (with olive oil, lemon juice, and garlic). Pretty good altogether. For dessert we had Cardamom Crumb Cake (web). A pretty good coffee cake type of thing, easy to put together, thank you, food processor.

Friday/18-Dec-15: Tonight was the carol concert for Ed's choir. We had planned to go out for pizza after. Turns out there was a choir party afterwards. So we skipped the pizza, ate a bit, then came home.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/19-Dec-15: Didn't really feel like cooking tonight, so made something really easy. Baked Fried Chicken, a recipe I collected last year, but neglected to note where I got it from. Easy and not bad, although there wasn't much fried about it. Chicken tenderloins, soaked in milk, dredged in flour seasoned with seasoned salt, salt salt, pepper, and paprika. Served with some nettle pasta I bought at a marché earlier in the year (no taste of nettle) and corn&peas. Some mini mags for dessert

Sunday/20-Dec-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Christmas Eve Confetti Pasta (web). The whole recipe says it serves eight, but that's pretty skimpy. It was simple, fast, and good enough. Then a salad.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for November/December

Monday, December 7, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Dec-15: Worked on the meal plan and grocery list today.

One more night of fish pie. With a big salad tonight.

Tuesday/8-Dec-15: Out today for BookChatters. Ate lunch at new possibility for meeting place.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Gratin de Pomme de Terre et Brocoli au Chorizo (web). I had just a bit since I ate out a lunch. This was really good, easy to do, and versatile. If you had the potatoes already boiled and maybe some leftover broccoli, it would be really quick. The gratin was potatoes, broccoli, and chorizo with a sauce of cream, cheese, and garlic. The recipe called for parmesan; I used gorgonzola since there was some to use up. I put parmesan on top rather than comté. Good stuff.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/9-Dec-15: Shopping late this afternoon after a slow start to the day with two sickies in house. In theory I'm on the upswing but still feeling tired and head full of crap. So late that I postponed tonight's planned dinner till tomorrow.

Late lunch before we left. I sautéed shrooms needing to be used with a bit of onion, some garlic, and some parsley. Made a open-faced sandwich, topped with some gruyère, also needing to be used, and popped under the broiler till the cheese was done. Quite tasty.

Instead there was Chicken Nuggets, an easy recipe I got from EAT-L and haven't found on the web. This is much like a recipe from one of the CL annuals, which uses crushed corn chips for the coating. This recipe called for bread crumbs. I used some crushed pretzels from the freezer, augmented by some crushed saltines. Easy peasy. Roll chunks of chicken breasts in a mixture of flour, onion powder, garlic powder, salt, and pepper. Dip in (butter)milk. Roll in crushed crumbs. Onto a sheet of waxed paper. Into a 400F oven for 20 minutes. Serve with sauces of choice. (We just used various hot sauces.) Served with corn and rice with red beans, made up and turned out really nice. Some yummy store-bought chocolate puddings for after. Later still we're having amaro with some provencal cookies that look and taste like cantuccini, which is why I bought them. First time I've seen these in the store, a nice discovery.

Thursday/10-Dec-15: For lunch I heated the leftover beans and rice and topped each serving with a fried egg. Pretty darn good.

Dinner was Jamie Oliver's Fantastic Fish Tikka Curry (web). Good, but not fantastic. Served over rice, with store-bought rice pudding for dessert.

Friday/11-Dec-15: Not a good day. Off for a haircut in the afternoon, so started a crockpot meal. Plugged it in but forgot to turn on the transformer. Ed thought it was odd not to be smelling it but never investigated. So when I got home, dumped all into a dutch oven and cooked it for an hour and a half.

Left a bit late for haircut and forgot to pack a sandwich. Tomtom and I fought all the way. Hungry when I got there and starving when I left. (Boulangers closed all through this time.) Ate some cookies we keep in the car, got jittery, stopped to pick up a croissant, bumped into another car when I parked. Not much damage to their car (left a note), but small dent in ours. Sigh. (Mystery is that our silver car and their red car left white swipe on both of us. Why?)

Arrived home to find dinner, Pork and Sausage Cazuela (R&WSlowCook, p102), not ready and waiting. Strange recipe. I don't mind crockpot dishes that take some cooking at the start, since the result is ofter better tasting. But this one wants work at the end too. It was good, but not really worth all the work. Lots of leftovers.

Saturday/12-Dec-15: Yogurt on overday.

No lunch and an early dinner, Creamy Sage Butternut White Bean Gnocchi (web). Made a more or less whole recipe of the sauce, but served only half and froze the rest. Used our home-grown winter squash. Used borlotti beans rather than canellini since I had more cans of those. Used almond milk instead of cashew milk, which isn't available; regular milk would do just fine, I'm sure. Didn't use sugar to caramelize the shallots. Pretty good. Then a bit salad. Some cookies for dessert.

Ed's worked on the Cube. No luck. Seems like when the power supply went, it zapped the motherboard. No more Mastercook. No more Framemaker. Sigh.

Sunday/13-Dec-15: More cazuela for dinner. Mini mags for after.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for November/December

Monday, November 30, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/30-Nov-15: Finished off the stuffing and sweet potato puff for dinner. With the mashed potatoes, I made Easy Potato and Pea Samosas (web) with the last three sheets of leftover brick in the fridge. I had about 2/3 of the potato weight, but used the full amount of spices. Quite tasty for little effort.

Tuesday/1-Dec-15: Used the ABM this morning to make Multigrain Bread from a magazine clipping; it's possibly from VT, but I haven't been able to find it online with such a distinctive name. Used up some buttermilk; thought I had some wheat bran, but couldn't find it, so used oat bran instead. Pretty good stuff, strong taste of honey, nice texture.

For dinner I marinated some bavettes, steamed some broccoli, cooked some mushroom-flavored pasta and mixed that with some sautéed garlic, shrooms, and parsley. Pretty good stuff altogether. We had a mini magnums for dessert.

Wednesday/2-Dec-15: Before we did our grocery shopping we bought some grout and the edging bits for the kitchen tiles. Took a box and some clothes to Emmaus, hoping for a good look around, but the shops were closed. Too bad.

Not feeling all that well and after all the errands, I didn't feel like doing the fish dinner planned. Rearranged the plan a bit and instead made a half recipe of Chicken with Green Peppercorn Sauce (web), which was pretty good. Served with mashed potatoes and peas and carrots. Then a big salad.

Thursday/3-Dec-15: No voice today. Feeling bletch. Dinner was Jool's Fish Pie (web), which was surprisingly good. Mixed fish (smoked haddock bought on sale last week, salmon, and cod), spinach, hard-boiled eggs, topped with a white sauce with cheddar, and covered with mashed potatoes (the eggs cooked for the last 8 minutes with the potatoes) and a sprinkle of cheddar. Easy, but lots of clock time. Kind of a shepherd's pie with fish. Yummy. We'll be eating this several more times in the next week.

Friday/4-Dec-15: We were supposed to eat out at lunch today, a friend's birthday lunch, but I'm too sick (cold, no voice, small temp) so stayed home. Fruit for dinner. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Saturday/5-Dec-15: Felt no worse when I got up today, hooray. Still can't talk. Went to la Roche to pick up our new glasses. More of Jool's Fish Pie for dinner. With some broccoli. And some scrumptious chocolate tarts Ed bought at the boulanger today.

Yogurt on overnight. (Made some earlier in the week but forgot to note it.)

Sunday/6-Dec on-15: I'm starting the getting better trip while Ed is getting sick.

Later afternoon we had lunch/dinner: Poached Egg on Toast with Chipotle Mayonnaise, Bacon and Avocado (web). Good stuff. Later we had some fruit followed by mini mags.

Changed the Foods of the World schedule so that the current book goes through December and the remaining eight have six weeks each, to finish in 2016. I hope.

Not one dish from a cookbook this week. Not much cooking for that matter.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no for November; no for December; #6 BREAD: yes for November; no for December  #7 FotW: no for November-December.

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

Kaye's Pickled Green Beans
potato chips

Balsamic Roasted Brussels Sprouts 
with Rucola

Arrosto di tacchino con pancetta ed erbe aromatiche
(Shane's Roasted Rolled Turkey Breast with Pancetta and Herbs) 
with its sauce
Sweet Potato-Carrot Puff
Chef Paul Prudhomme's Cornbread Dressing
Cranberry-Port Relish
Buttermilk Bread Cloverleaf Rolls


Pumpkin Flan

A fairly light Thanksgiving  this year. For guests, we had Cath and Doug from one of Ed's choirs, and Eddy Harris and his friend Marjolaine.

I'd planned on a relish tray with my pickled green beans with carrot sticks and olives. (Note to self: small marinated mushrooms would be a good fourth for this combination.) Discovered at the last minute that there weren't any carrots. The last of them, and not quite enough, went into the Puff. Instead I put out little dishes of pistachios and potato chips, which we munched on with pineau.

For a starter there was Marinated Roasted Brussels Sprouts with Rucola. I used the marinade as the vinaigrette for the rucola. This is really two recipes smerged together. If I can ever run Mastercook again (hoping a new power supply for the Cube lets it start up), I'll enter what I do as a single recipe.

At Ed's request, we again had Shane's rolled turkey breast. I dry-brined the turkey, and this might have been fine, but I horribly overcooked it, so it was way too dry. The first time I've used my new roll of kitchen twine, after finally using up the first ball I bought so long ago. Served the "juice" from the cooking as a separate sauce.

As go-withs there were my old standards, Sweet Potato-Carrot Puff (MC) and Chef Paul Prudhomme's Cornbread Dressing (MC).

And, of course, there was Cranberry-Port Relish (MC), a recipe that came from VT originally, but I've reduced the sugar. It's a really tasty and simple-to-make cranberry sauce. So much better than the canned stuff. And some pretty good gravy made with the turkey stock I made last week.

I also made some cloverleaf rolls, because that nice soft white bread is so good for soppy. Probably the first time I've actually made this recipe with real buttermilk (lait ribot) instead of dried. Now I've got to use that up in the next week or so.

Since there were six of us, I bought two bottles of Beaujolais, one Juliénas (which we've never had before that I can remember) and the other Morgon. We neglected to notice the year. Both were good.

And, finally, there was some Pumpkin Flan (MC), which is delicious.

Just before the coffee we sampled some of the Averna Cream that we brought back from Italy. This won universal approval.

Not much picture-taking happened. Did get a picture of the camellias on the table before we sat to eat.

Monday, November 23, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/23-Nov-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Butternut Squash & Coconut Curry (web) served over rice. It wasn't butternut, of course, but one of the squash from our potager. (We think there are eight around the housem, sigh.) The recipe also used a long pepper, which is what was used for pepper by the Romans. Some hazelnut cake from the boulanger for dessert.

Tuesday/24-Nov-15: Dinner was a small version of Roast Chicken with Sumac, Za'atar and Lemon (Otto, p122, using three thighs instead of a whole chicken. Very tasty it was. Served with Crushed Spiced Carrot Salad (Morocco, p78), very yummy. Need to remember to make more of this since we like it so much. And then some brown basmati rice.

Miserable weather today, cold, windy, and wet. Made a run to the butcher and to Intermarché. Unfortunately, I think I should have gotten one more sweet potato. I wonder if Ed might go get one tomorrow?

Staying up late making cornbread for the stuffing I'll make tomorrow

Wednesday/25-Nov-15: Was busy all day with Thanksgiving, so dinner was simple: pork paprikash from the freezer over a full dose Spaetzle (MW@Home, p203, too much perhaps, with some steamed broccoli.

Ed went to the store, to get the last bits of things we needed. Then he did his best to help. Not. I assembled the bits of turkey breast for the roulade. there was a join about in the middle of the roll. Trying to help, very unhelpfully, he sharply picked up the roll, right in the middle, so that it almost broke in two. I tied it up as well as I could. Hope it stays together. And then there was the filling and topping for the roulade. I spread about 2/3 of it on the turkey, then set the bowl aside to put the rest on top of the roll. Later when I went to put it in the fridge, it wasn't to be found. Ed had tossed it. This is not the first time he's tossed an essential bit of a meal. Somehow it never occurs to him to ask. More work for tomorrow.

Thursday/26-Nov-15: Yup, we had Thanksgiving. Maybe not the best ever, perhaps, but still nice. Good company. I was pooped at the end of the day.

Friday/27-Nov-15: Leftovers tonight. Stuffing and sweet potato-carrot puff.

Saturday/28-Nov-15: Shopped today. No guard when I went into the store, but Ed said there was one when he went in.

Dinner was Cilantro and Lime Salmon (web); very good. Served with orzo. Followed by a salad. Then the rest of the pumpkin flan.

Sunday/29-Nov-15: More leftovers for an early meal, the rest of the turkey, some dressing and some sweet potato-carrot puff. We went to a movie in the early evening, so nothing further happened in the kitchen.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: yes; #7 FotW: no for November

Monday, November 16, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/16-Nov-15: For dinner I made a three-course menu from a VPG. I served the entrée/starter, Croustillants de Courgette à la Feta (Crispy Things with Courgette and Feta), with the main course, Agneau Mariné et Houmous au Cumin (Marinated Lamb with Cumin Hummus). There are lots of versions of the lamb recipe to be found on the web. Some of them even include the instruction to cube the lamb, which is clearly shown in the picture, but not instructed in the version I cooked from. I just grilled the lamb steaks quickly. We're still out of tahini, which I didn't remember, so I made the hummus with peanut butter with some sesame seeds thrown in. Ok, if a bit crunchy. The starter was a mixture of grated zucchini, mixed with feta and gruyère, wrapped in brick, which is like phyllo, but round, then fried a bit. Pretty good mixture. Dessert was Gratin de Pommes Vertes (Gratin of Green Apples), well, only one Granny, since I was making a half recipe. Apple peeled and chunked, then sautéed in a bitter butter with some sugar. Into gratin dishes*, topped with egg yolk mixed with honey and sugar, then under the broiler. Not bad.

*Sounds impressive to have gratin dishes around? Actually they're the dishes from the frozen crème brulées I buy occasionally. Mostly they get used for feeding cats, but sometimes they're useful in the oven.

Tuesday/17-Nov-15: Back to Germany tonight for Hoppelpoppel—Eggs with Bacon, Onions, and Potatoes (TLGer, p67). Kind of comfort food, potatoes, eggs, and bacon.

Yogurt on overnight.

Wednesday/18-Nov-15: Orange (France Telecom) sent a technician this  morning to work on our internet connection. The phone support guy I've been dealing with insisted that the problem was in the house. The guy came and checked everything and said all is well. Before he got here, he did something outside ,somewhere in the village, that increased our download speed from about .9Mbps to over 2Mbps. Nice for us. Hope it stays up.

Somewhat belatedly thinking about our Thanksgiving meal today while doing the meal plan for the next week. Better late than never. Couldn't find a copy of our favorite dressing recipes so really have to turn on the Cube in the next days to get to Mastercook.

Dinner was a half recipe of Pici alla Salsccia e Funghi—Pici with Sausages and Wild Mushrooms (Lorenza, p140). The pici wasn't homemade, but storebought in Italy. The shrooms weren't wild ones, but shiitake. The plum tomatoes were really ones from our potager. Ah well, it was good anyhow. Then a salad. Then we split a magnum classic, a third for me, the rest for Ed.

Thursday/19-Nov-15: Busy with Stuff during the afternoon and it got late. Dinner was a favorite old stand-by, Artichoke Spaghetti (Art, p59), made with linguine and with a can of tuna stirred in at the end. Yummy stuff. Served with a salad of tomato and fennel, which was also pretty good. Finished off the egg custards for dessert.

Some of the Stuff I did included making pickled green beans and cranberry sauce for Thanksgiving.

The big news today was that Café Clemence, where my BookChatters group meets monthly, is closing. Today. So we are looking for a new place. And, it turns out, a new day. Such a mess.

And the Cube won't turn on. Seems like the power supply no longer does it's job. One on order from Amazon for not too much.

Friday/20-Nov-15: Shopping today. Our shopping bag was searched on the way into the grocery store. Not my shoulder bag, but the shopping bag. Not at one of the outside doors, but at the inside gate to the grocery. Very weird and fairly useless if this is an anti-terrorist move.

We'd planned to go out this evening, but Terry wasn't feeling well, and the weather is miserable, so we stayed home. Popped the leftover zucchini croustillants in the toaster oven to crisp them up, then some frozen multi-grain pancakes.

Saturday/21-Nov-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Ligurian Fish and Potatoes (web), appropriate since we've recently dabbled our toes in the Ligurian Sea. Wow, the fish was way too salty, even though I rinsed after salting. Served with a made-up sautéed zuke and tomato thing I've done (sort of) before. Which was lightly salted, so mixing all together worked well.

Yogurt on overnight.

Sunday/22-Nov-15: Started Ruhlman Easy Turkey Stock (web) today. It will sit in the oven overnight.

No lunch and had our dinner earlyish (is that linner?). A half recipe of Eggs on Curried Rice (Rodale2, p113), which I've made before. This time with wildfond instead of beef stock. Then a small salad. Then we each had the meat off one of the roasted turkey wings. And a mini mag for dessert.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for November

Monday, November 9, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/9-Nov-15: Yogurt on overday.

For dinner I made a bean soup from a packet I bought in Tuscany: Minestrone all Contadina. It was a mixture of beans. The most prominent were that Italian specialty red/orange lentils, plu yellow split peas and mung beans. It also included (at least) adzuki beans, an unidentified small white/tan bean, small brown lentils, teeny black-eyed peas, and borlotti beans. All cooked in the pressure cooker with potatoes, carrots, and zucchini. Made a good soup, especially with a goodly slog of hot sauce.

Tuesday/10-Nov-15: Oops forgot to put the yogurt up last night. Time for a new starter.

Made apple butter.

Pizza out after Voce Concordiae's remembrance concert.

Wednesday/11-Nov-15: We ate today's meal at the remembrance day lunch in Montemboeuf. Absolutely no need for more food.

Thursday/12-Nov-15: Dinner was a half dose Fresh Chinese Noodles with Spicy Cabbage (Bishop, p251). No fresh Chinese noodles available, so I used linguine. Pretty good actually, although a bit dry. That's because I didn't see the instruction to add some of the pasta-cooking water to the cabbage, which was exactly what it needed.

Friday/13-Nov-15: We didn't make it shopping today, so I had to rearrange the Plan to make a meal based on what was in-house. What was that? More cabbage. So, dinner was a half version of Orecchiette alla Verza—Orecchiette with Anchovies and Savoy Cabbage (ClassPasta, p129). Pretty tasty, and easy. No dessert.

Saturday/14-Nov-15: Finally did our shopping for this week, after a stop at the optician to choose new frames for me (Ed's reusing his current ones).

Dinner was a half recipe of Zalm met Broccolipuree (web), which was easy and pretty good. (I broiled the fish, rather than sautéing it.) Served with a side of polenta, but actually it would have been better with a starter and then just the broccoli and fish on the plate. For dessert we had Egg Custard (MC). (Should be able to find this on the web, but haven't succeeded thus far.) I've made this before. It's quite easy. Strangely the recipe has not enough sugar, it needs to cook way longer than advertised, and it overfills the four six-ounce custard cups asked for. I used a yogurt jar for the last bit, making five custards in total.

Yogurt on overnight with new starter.

Sunday/15-Nov-15: We ate out for Ed's birthday today. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: yes for September/October; no for November

Monday, November 2, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/2-Nov-15: Meant to defrost the fridge today. Brought all the ice chests down. Oops, there was yogurt making that needed to be cooled. Tomorrow.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Spaghetti with Sardines, Dill and Fried Capers (web). Sardines from a can. Not bad really. The dill and capers were a strong enough taste to stand up to the fish and it all worked out well. Then a salad. Then some of Aunt Essie's Fruit Cobbler (green notebook). I have always made this with a can of peaches, but realized tonight the directions ask for a #2 can of unspecified fruit. Peaches are good.

Forgot to say that I tried two new pastas while we were in Tuscany. A couple of times we enjoyed pici and brought back a sack for us and for a gift. It's kind of like spaghetti on steroids. It's supposed to be hand-rolled, but what we had and what we bought looks to me like it's extruded—too very even to be hand-made. Then there was testaroli. Have never heard of this before and didn't find any references in any of my books that I looked in. It starts as a kind of pancake, then is cut into bits and boiled; it's traditionally served with pesto. Apparently this may be the original "pasta". It's quite heavy and was quite a lot to have before a main course. Glad I tried it, don't need to have it again.

Tuesday/3-Nov-15: Defrosted the fridge today. Not a favorite job. Ed helped by cleaning shelves and drawers.

Dinner was a halfish recipe of Hot, Sweet, and Sour Chickpeas with Eggplant (H2CEV, p609), served over rice. Pretty good stuff, and relatively fast. Finished off the peach cobbler. Then (yipes!) some chocolate square with hazelnuts.

On the weekend we picked up the tiles for the kitchen. Had a good look at them tonight. A bit disappointing (not to mention my second choice.) For the edging, the reds don't match. Since they were supposedly hand-made on our order, this was a surprise. The solid reds don't match the figured ones. Worse, though, the bulk of the tiles have cracked glaze (what we looked at definitely wasn't crackled) and the color is whiter than cream, so doesn't match the edge tiles. Not sure what we're going to do.

Wednesday/4-Nov-15: Shopped today. First time I've seen extra-wide aluminum foil. What an advance! I'm still using a box I brought from the US probably at least 25 years ago. Don't use it very much.

Dinner was Arctic Char + Cucumber Relish (CLjan/feb15, web) with Radish & Avocado Quinoa (CLjan/feb15, web). These two recipes made up a Just-for-Two Tuesday article. No char to be found (not sure I've ever seen omble), so I used cod instead. The fish and relish were okay, but nothing special. The quinoa salad was pretty good. For dessert, we had a pair of tiramisus, a new brand. So, so.

Thursday/5-Nov-15: The fourth burner on the stove finally got fixed today. Hooray!

Dinner was Karhi—Vegetable Stew with Chickpea Flour Sauce (WorldVeg, p36; cookbooker). Good stuff it was too. That's all.

Friday/6-Nov-15: Dinner was a half recipe of Pollo Rebozado—Cornmeal-Coated Chicken in Tomato Sauce (TLLatin, p34) served with a halfish recipe of Arroz Verde (TLLatin, p84). The salad is a take-off on Ensalada de Cabalacitas—Zucchini Salad (Ortiz, p237). The chicken was tasty. Cornmeal coating didn't happen. (What do you expect? Beat an egg till foamy, dilute with milk, stir in just a bit of cornmeal, which promptly sinks to the bottom. If a proper coating was the aim, it would have been better to dip in flour, dip in egg, then dip in cornmeal as you usually do for something coated.) The sauce was good (tomatoes cooked with wine) and the sauce leftovers will make a nice salad or vegetable dressing in the next days. The rice was a big hit. For a halfish recipe, I used a small (4-oz) can of chiles, which is usually three, and zapped them together with a bit of stock, parsley, onions, and garlic. (Thank you, staff mixer.) This will definitely get made again. I made the salad at the last minute for a go-with, also using a canned chile, with zucchini, avocado, a shallot, and a bit of oil and vinegar dressing. It should have been chilled, but I did it very last-minute.

Saturday/7-Nov-15: It was clean-out-the-fridge pizza tonight, with roasted cauliflower, zucchini, and green beans, topped with black olives and capers. Not bad. For dessert we had some chocolate bonbons. At the old folks dinner in October, which we didn't attend because we weren't here, the old folks get little boxes of goodies. Pascal brought ours around to us this morning.

Sunday/8-Nov-15: We both had leftover pizza for lunch today, Ed at choir, me at home, so neither of us felt like much for dinner. I made a salad, embellished with some lardons from the freezer that wanted using. The rest of our bonbons for afters.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: yes for September/October; no for November

Monday, October 26, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/26-Oct-15: Travelled home from the Vercors today. Put a spinach-noodle casserole from the freezer into the oven for dinner. That was all.

Tuesday/27-Oct-15: Shop. Lots of veggies and fruit to restock the fridge.

Dinner was Orange-Glazed Salmon with Olive Quinoa (web). Not bad stuff. Some peas and shallots as a side. Some rice pudding from the shop for dessert.

Wednesday/28-Oct-15: Back in business—yogurt on overday.

Dinner was Baja Fish Tacos (web; cookbooker). I had a 250g package of coleslaw-ish stuff, looked like 4 cups or more. I made all the sauce (should have been doubled probably) with no honey, and this was more than enough. I made the Sazon by blitzing 1/4 teaspoon each of coriander seeds, cumin seeds, annatto seeds, garlic powder, coarse salt, and black peppercorns. Served with flour tortillas because I was too lazy to make corn ones.

Thursday/29-Oct-15: Another keeper for dinner tonight. A halfish recipe of Pan-Roasted Chicken with Lemon-Garlic Green Beans (web; cookbooker). This is a one-dish dinner, so that's all we had. Yum.

Friday/30-Oct-15: Picked up our kitchen tiles today. Hooray! Still have to get grout and the edge bits (there seeming to be no edge tiles here), but we're on the way.

Dinner from the freezer, big shells filled with herby cheese with tomato sauce. Then a salad. Then two squares of chocolate each.

Saturday/31-Oct-15: Big lunch at a Salle des Vins in St Junien today. Nothing happened in the kitchen today.

Sunday/1-Nov-15: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Wild Rice Bowl with Red Lentil Curry and Spinach (web). I used half the wild rice and half the red lentils with all the spices. Pretty tasty. Not sure the wild rice added anything special. Basmati would have been fine. It being a sort of anniversary, we finished a bottle of Fleuri as a go-with.

Yogurt on overnight.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #5 PASTA: no for October, no for November; #6 BREAD: no for October, no for November  #7 FotW: no for Sept/October; no for November

Monday, October 19, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/19-Oct-15: This was clear-out-the-fridge night, preparation for leaving on Thursday. For dinner we had lots of orzo, accompanied by:
  • Green Bean Salad (ClassicItal, p557). A really nice, simple way to do green beans. Should be done at the last minute or so that the beans can be kept warm till serving.
  • Zucchini with Tomato and Basil (ClassicItal, p534). A bit of clock-time, but easy to do and not demanding. Having no parsley, I sprinkled in some dried Italian herbs. Good stuff.
  • Roasted Eggplant with Peppers and Cucumber (ClassicItal, p55). I've made this a number of times. It's still good.
Tuesday/20-Oct-15: Lunch was a take-off on Medaglioni de Melazane—Aubergine Medallions (VegCarlu, p202). No tomato purée, wrong cheese, still good. Chopped up some tomatoes (seeded, of course) and cooked till soft, then stirred in the last of the basil we brought along. Sauté slices of eggplant. Top with (pesto, not), tomato sauce, cheddar slices, and some grated Parmesan. Into the oven till the cheese was melted.

Had a super dinner out. Fixed menu, first time we've seen that in Italy. Soup, pasta, two mains (lamb and chicken), and dessert. Good and not all that expensive.

Wednesday/21-Oct-15: For lunch, I started out to make an egg and zucchini thing from VegCarlu, but it turned into a clear-out-the-fridge scramble-up. Red onion, the end of a salami, a bit of red bell pepper, the last zucchini, two little tomatoes, topped with eggs. Yum. Hope we have room for dinner tonight.

Nice dinner out at our favorite restaurant in Radicondoli.

Thursday/22-Oct-15: Checked out. Drove to Pisa to see the Leaning Tower and the Duomo. Then to Lucca. Walked 11,000+ steps today. Feet are tired. Lovely dinner out.

Friday/23-Oct-15: Walked almost 10,000 steps. Whew. Another nice dinner out.

Saturday/24-Oct-15: Drove all the way to the Vercors without an overnight stop.

Sunday/25-Oct-15: Day in the Vercors.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: no; #4 VEG/FISH: 1
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for September/October

Monday, October 12, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/12-Oct-15: Ate at another restaurant tonight. Good pasta; meat overcooked. Friendly place. We are astounded at the number of Americans in town. There were at least ten eating dinner at this restaurant, plus a Brit couple.

Tuesday/13-Oct-15: Picked the chicken. Made stock.

Dinner was a take-off on Chicken Fricassee, Cacciatora Style (ClassicItal, p330) served with fusilli. Instead of using pieces of raw chicken, I used most of the cooked meat I took from the roast chicken. Good it was. With a salad.

Wednesday/14-Oct-15: Bit of shopping this afternoon for bread and other supplies

Dinner was, more or less, Orecchiette con Broccoli (VegCarlu, p54). The pasta was fusilli instead or orecchiette, but it was still good. Easy stuff. And a salad. then we finished off the chocolate gelato.

Thursday/15-Oct-15: Dinner out.

Friday/16-Oct-15: Went to the market at Colle de Val d'Elsa. The non-food stuff was starting to close up as we got there, but we found one of the small ladles with holes, which turns out to be great for checking if pasta is cooked and probably works with beans too.

Watched a movie. Got too late to cook. Pizza for dinner.

Saturday/17-Oct-15: For dinner there was ravioli filled with nettle and Parmesan a la panna, cooked then finished off in cream. Yesterday at the market I bought a head of any unknown green, which we think might be chicory, the real stuff rather than the one that's also called Belgian endive or witlof. Used it to make a non-mixed version of Mixed Greens with Black Olives (Verdura, p321). (This is only the third recipe I've noted from Verdura, so I'll call this an unused book.) I boiled the greens till well-wilted, but later found by taste and research they should  have been cooked longer, so the dish was a bit strong. But still an interesting way to cook greens.

Sunday/18-Oct-15: As I was putting up dishes this morning, a small glass bowl exploded when I tapped its edge against the stack I was adding it to. Never had that kind of thing happen before. So much for not breaking anything.

For lunch I made chicken noodle soup with the rest of the stock, a bit of leftover chicken, a sliced carrot, and some orzo.

Dinner out, so that was all in the kitchen.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: no; #4 VEG/FISH: 2
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for September/October

Monday, October 5, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/5-Oct-15: Dinner was Goat Cheese, Chive, and Chili Pepper Sauce for Pasta  (p167, MarCuc). This is getting to be our traditional night-before-we-travel dinner. Really simple, really good. Then a salad. Then the rest of the Sweet Potato Pudding, which was good cooled too.

Tuesday/6-Oct-15: As Willie sang, we're On the Road Again.

Wednesday/7-Oct-15: And again. 

Thursday/8-Oct-15: Arrived safely. Driving in Italy is crazy, by far the most stressful part of the trip. Found our "villa" easily after making a brief stop at a small grocery store. The welcome pack includes an enormous bowlful of  candy. Unpacked and explored.

Big salad for dinner to make up for two days of road food, with some very nice red wine from the family in an unlabelled bottle. Had to toss the salad in a big pot. No salad fork and spoon to be found; no big serving spoons of any kind. No bowl big enough to serve a big salad for two (or small for four).

Friday/9-Oct-15: Found a big grocery today and filled the (little) fridge. We suspect that they must eat a lot of risotto around here because finding a small (i.e., 500g) package of arborio or carnaroli was difficult.

Two tomatoes were damaged on the way home, so I stewed them with some zucchini for a side. The main was sautéed salmon, with some orzo as a side. The orzo was interesting because there isn't a sieve here. Put a dishtowel in the colander to drain it.

We've been in quite a few gîte-type things. This one has the most poorly equipped kitchen we've seen. As expected the knives are flimsy and useless; I knew to bring some, a chopping knife and a paring knife. There are dinner plates, salad/dessert plates, soup plates, coffee cups (big and small), and a few small cereal bowls, but no other small dishes. House sleeps four; there are four glasses. Nothing for baking a tart or cake, no casserole, no baking sheet. No serving dishes. Nothing to put things in (leftovers, etc.). No butter dish. (Have stowed butter on a salad plate with an overturned soup plate as a lid, taking a lot of precious counter space.) No kettle, electric or otherwise, so we boil water on the stove. Most of the pots and pans are very badly scarred "non-stick". Not to be used. One very thin skillet, newish. Two saucepan sort of things are decent, but no lids, although there's one around that will do. I brought a small peeler, because I figured the one provided would be too dull to be useful. Good thing I did, because there's no peeler at all and no paring knife. There is a cute mini dishwasher which does a respectable job with plates and cups and cutlery. We'll survive, of course.

Saturday/10-Oct-15: Rainy day. Dinner in Radicondoli. Getting started up the road in the wet was interesting. (It's first gear all the way up.) Wondering how we'll get up road when we leave with a fully laden car, especially if it's wet.

Sunday/11-Oct-15: Roasted a chicken with lemon and rosemary. Tossed fusilli (welcome pack) with the sauce. Corn on the cob, found at the big supermarket yesterday.

There is a strange utensil hanging over the stove, a small ladle with holes in the bottom. Couldn't figure out what that was for. Till I needed to check if the pasta was done. Perfect!

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: no; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: no for September/October

Monday, September 28, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/28-Sep-15: Dinner was a halfish recipe of Red Curry Shrimp (web). Good and easy except for peeling the shrimp, not a favorite job. Served with plain basmati rice and Karhai Broccoli (p148, MJ@Home). All tasty. For afters, I had a mini magnum and Ed had a classic one.

Tuesday/29-Sep-15: Lunch out today. Dinner unnecessary. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Wednesday/30-Sep-15: Discovered today that my new dragonfly gadget to mark the bookshelf where I need to start cleaning has disappeared. :-( The last of the dinosaurs that I was using before crashed to the floor and died. This summer I bought a cute plastic dragonfly at a vide-grenier and now it's disappeared. Sigh.

Dinner was (sort of) Butternut Squash Polenta with Sausage and Onion (web). Grated squash was add to the polenta while it was cooking and pretty much disappeared therein. The half recipe should have had 1/2 cup of polenta, but that seemed to me a small amount for a main course, so I used 2/3 cup. And had leftovers. Instead of Italian pork sausage, I used duck sausage we got at one of the marchés des producteurs this summer. Altogether quite good. Followed by a salad. And some squares of chocolate after.

Thursday/1-Oct-15: After lunch today, we discovered that an old butternut squash, from last year that had got stuck into the bottom cabinet over the old refrigerator and moved to the counter when that was removed, had gone bad. Oozed all over the counter. And soaked into the paneling on the side of the cabinet next to the counter. Yuck. Maybe we have an extra piece of paneling. Hope so because Ikea doesn't carry this stuff any more.

I shopped today while Ed choired.

Dinner was Shrimp Florentine Pasta (web; CL/jun12). Easy and fast. We liked it pretty well, although I wonder why the shrimp was cooked in butter and not in olive oil. Served with a some slices of a Beefsteak tomato, sprinkled with little basil leaves. Then some little store-bought tarts with the end of the cheesecake ice cream.

Friday/2-Oct-15: Haircut this morning. Had a hearing aid appointment later in the day, but had the wrong time. Changed to Monday. Meant to go to Leclerc after that appointment, but will have to go in the morning.

Dinner was Omelet with Fresh Goat Cheese and Mint (web) followed by salad. The omelets were made by mixing the cheese and mint into the eggs. I'm not sure they wouldn't have been better but mixing the cheese and mint putting that mixture on the omelet just before folding it, like you usually do.  Followed by a salad. And some mini magnums.

Saturday/3-Oct-15: Ed's choir is bringing bits for a post-practice and post-AGM meal. I made Leek, Potato, and Olive Pie (p92, O&C), which I've made before. Was good before, guess it will be okay.

Dinner was Fish Fillets Römertopf (MC; Römertopf brochure) with lieu noir. Pretty good, and easy. Served with roasted cauliflower and broccoli, using up the last bits of those, and some leftover polenta that I toasted under the broiler. Some mini mags for dessert.

Sunday/4-Oct-15: Dinner was, more or less, Risotto met Flespompoen (web). An interesting idea, but not a well-written recipe. Most sources recommend about 115g of arborio rice per person as a main. This recipes asks 350g for four. I used 230g. I cooked everything in olive oil, not butter. Celery? No, didn't work. Should have been onion. The first round of liquid added to risotto is usually some white wine, so I did that, then followed with the vegetable stock. The flespompoen (winter squash) was sautéed; it might have been better (and faster) roasted. I didn't add the rucola, although this might have been nice. Cream added at the end to make it creamy. Uh, no. Risotto is creamy because of the way it's cooked, not because cream is added at the end. Turned out ok. Might be a good recipe to play with a bit. Intended to make a salad, but didn't have time. Not really needed. I used up some sweet potatoes to make Sweet Potato Pudding (p123, TLAfrica). Good stuff. Had tonight's batch warm with a layer of cream on it. Tomorrow will be cold, as it ought to be.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: no; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #5 PASTA: yes for September, no for October; #6 BREAD: yes for September, no for October  #7 FotW: no for September/October

Monday, September 21, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/21-Sep-15: Went to Planet Exotica for a (Groupon) day outing. Dinner was mostly from the freezer, some Indian-ish spicy sauce with cooked chicken added, served over brown rice, with Karhai Broccoli (p148, MJ@Home) for a veggie matter. I had one square of chocolate for dessert.

Had a quick look at some of my herb and spice books during dinner. Oh dear, an untapped source of recipes!

Tuesday/22-Sep-15: Yogurt on overday. Well, it started out that way. Ed went to work on the clock on the stove (and fixed it!) and had to turn the electricity off, but didn't think about the yogurt. Three hours or more I noticed that it was off. Tossed it all. This batch has gotten pretty sour, so I think we'll just buy some for the short term. Did notice that the middle jar was pretty far along in the cooking while the outer jars were not. So looks like the heat is not being spread as well as it ought to be. Think the next yogurt maker will not be Moulinex in spite of the investment we have in jars.

Dinner was Moroccan-Spiced Scallops and Lentils (web; Feb2009 Bon Appetit). Not sure where I picked this magazine up; it's not one I usually get. Made some couscous to go with it, but we didn't use them. Served with Crushed Spiced Carrot Salad (p78, Morocco), a favorite. For dessert, we had a pair of toetjes I got at the boulangerie after our dentist checkups.

Wednesday/23-Sep-15: Out this morning having a tour of a tannery. Leftover enchiladas and rice for dinner (yea, oven!), with some cilantro-less guacamole. That was all.

Thursday/24-Sep-15: Started on the next squash, making Squash and Cardamom Pie (p101, O&C) for dinner. (Using pine nuts, and coucsous instead of rice or bulgur.) Well, I thought it was dinner, until I put it in the oven and saw that it wanted to cook for an hour and a half. Quickly made a salad from the rest of the leftover couscous and called that dinner. It was good. Followed by freshly frozen Cheesecake Ice Cream (p62, Scoop; cookbooker). Yes, frozen cheesecake is what it tastes like. Good stuff.

Friday/25-Sep-15: Ed gathered some figs from the neighbor's tree, so I've been doing lots of figgy things.
  • Made a half dose of Sticky Fig Jam (p195, PutEmUp), giving two AH jars. Tiny sample tasted OK. This one has balsamic vinegar in it. Since the strawberry balsamic jam was so good, I thought this would be worth a try.
  • Made a half dose of Fig and Lime Jam (web; CL/jun10). Not sure about this one. It burnt on the bottom, so I only got one jar. We'll see how it is. 
  • Made a Fresh Fig Galette (web; CL/aug15). The crust was tasty, but wouldn't roll out at all. Instead of making a free-form galette, I pressed it into a big pie plate, folding the edges over like a galette. Pretty tasty.
  • Made Baked Figs and Goat Cheese (web) scaled down for two. This should have been our starter, but Ed was really hungry so we had it as our second course. 
Had the squash and cardamom pie for our first course. It was so-so. The squash is strangely sweet and there was a bit too much lemon juice perhaps. Not a winner. Slices of fig galette for dessert with a bit of cheesecake ice cream or cream.

Saturday/26-Sep-15: The fig galette was yummy for breakfast.

Shopping today, yes, on Saturday. Unexpectedly, it wasn't especially crowded, and everything was pretty well stocked. We walked out with vanilla yogurt instead of plain. Luckily I spotted it while we were packing up and I took it back directly and got the plain one I meant to get.

Dinner was Dorade Citron Vert et Piment d'Esplelette (VPG). Okay, but nothing special. Very badly written recipe. You chop up some new onions, but never use them. I even read the recipe aloud to Ed thinking I must have overlooked something. No. They wanted you to roast thin filets at 210C (400F) for 20 minutes. No.

Served with Salt-and-Vinegar Roasted Potatoes (web). This was a hit. This is similar to Dusolier' roasted potatoes, half-cooked by boiling (with cider vinegar in the water), then shaken (I added this), then baked. Yum. Also some Roasted Zucchini (web), with the zucchini sliced as Clotilde Dusolier suggests. Another keeper. Two out of three isn't bad.

Some mini magnums for after.

Sunday/27-Sep-15: The fig galette has been very good for breakfast these last days.

Oven-roasted tomatoes in the oven.

After considering how many veggies were in the fridge needing to be used up, I changed the dinner plans at the last minute. We had an assortment of dishes, served with pita breads. There was:

  • Aubergine & Chickpea Salad (sep11 Jamie; can't find on web). This used the eggplant from the potager. Made about half a recipe since the eggplant wasn't very big. Eggplant grilled, tossed with couscous, chickpeas, ras el hanout, lemon juice, paprika, cumin, and chopped cilantro. Good.
  • Oven-Roasted Cauliflower with Garlic, Olive Oil and Lemon Juice (web). A nice-looking cauliflower jumped into my cart yesterday. Used the first bit tonight. This was good, not especially North African, but it went especially well with ...
  • Cilantro Zucchini Hummus (web). No chickpeas, so not really hummus, but delicious. I did not peel my zucchini and it was a prettier color than pictured. Yummy.
I was going to make another hummus also, using the chickpeas left from the eggplant salad, but discovered I didn't have a backup jar of tahini. Oops. Inventory fail. So that will wait another day. Didn't really need it, I guess, since we were quite full after eating and the leftovers are minimal.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: no; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 5
This month: #5 PASTA: yes; #6 BREAD: yes; #7 FotW: no for September/October

Monday, September 14, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/14-Sep-15: Made a pair of Schlotsky's Rolls today, following a recipe that I got via EAT-L in September 1999! (Found the same recipe here.) Actually very much like Schlotsky's rolls. I really should get a pair of smaller pie plates to do these with. I used one pie plate and one cake tin about the same diameter, and they were both a bit too big. Really easy bread to make, no-knead and all that stuff.

Dinner was Broccoli Mac and Cheddar (web; cookbooker). This was pretty good. Then a salad. No dessert, since we'd had a bit of pomegranate molasses cake for lunch and didn't feel like more.

Tuesday/15-Sep-15: Lunch out today. Nothing much happened in the kitchen today.

Wednesday/16-Sep-15: Used the last my birthday tortillas to make cheese enchiladas, loosely based on Chile Queen Enchiladas (p58, TexMex). I used mimelotte and mozzarella as the cheese, which worked ok. And my variation on Mama's Spanish rice. No guacamole since the avocado was bad. That was all.

Thursday/17-Sep-15: We ate out at a quiz tonight. Nothing happened in the kitchen

Friday/18-Sep-15: Shopping today. A small one for unknown reasons. Looked for some small pie plates. Found some foil ones that looked like a possiblity. When I picked them up, I discovered they were for escargot, and had little dimples on the bottom to hold them.

Noticed that Blogspot no longer supports plus signs (+) in a tag name, but does support ampersand (&). A while back they didn't support ampersands, so I changed everything to pluses. Now it's the other way around. Wish they'd decide. And hope they don't change again.

Dinner was Oven Roasted Smoked Sausage and Potatoes (web; not sure at all where I got it from). Kind of comfort food. Easy to make, mostly unattended once it's in the oven. I might use hot paprika rather than sweet paprika next time. Served with a big salad. Some squares of chocolate for dessert.

Made up a half recipe of Clean Eating Thai Sweet Chili Sauce (web) and put the salmon onto marinate for tomorrow night's dinner.

Yogurt on overnight.

Saturday/19-Sep-15: Dinner was Clean Eating Baked Thai Salmon (web), which was pretty good and took no time to broil. Served with basmati rice, Broccoli in Oyster Sauce (p58, Delightful), and Cucumber Salad (p50, Delightful). All good. We split a classic magnum for dessert, then had a square or two of proper chocolate for the taste.

Sunday/20-Sep-15: Dinner was Greek Shrimp (p136, PastaMach) with Lemon Oregano Pasta (p65, PastaMach). The pasta was nice, but can't say it tasted of lemon or oregano. I used small shrimp (frozen) rather than the bigger ones, which wasn't the best choice. But it tasted fine. Then a salad. That was all.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: no; #4 VEG/FISH: 4
This month: #5 PASTA: yes; #6 BREAD: yes; #7 FotW: holiday for August, no for September/October

Monday, September 7, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/7-Sep-15: Deseeded a whole mess of tomatoes today. Put some back outside because there were too many for the pot.

There are 3-1/2 winter squash in-house (with at least two more on the vine). The biggest is pushing 4#, the smallest 2#. Tonight we've eaten three times off the partial squash, with about a quarter to go.

Tonight was Butternut Squash Pizza (web). Never one to follow a recipe too closely, I spread some pyramid goat cheese on the crust before topping with the roasted veggies. And added arugula/rocket/rucola instead of spinach, which wasn't to be found in the shops. Pretty good. Had the last two of the chocolate puddings I bought last week for dessert.

Tuesday/8-Sep-15: Yogurt on overday. Off to my ENT this a.m. to get a grommet in my left ear. Hope it stays put.

Dinner was Sautéed Chicken with Green Olives & White Wine (web), which is from a Bittman book, but not one I have. Easy, and I thought it was really good. Ed liked it not so much, but didn't say why. Served with Radish and Broad Bean Salad (p16, Otto), which we liked. This recipe was supposed to serve 4, so I though half would do. That would have been 250g of shelled favas (found some frozen at Leclerc last week). I stopped at 100g, which looked more than enough, and jiggled rest of measurements. Forgot to add the cumin; might have been nice. The Green Tahini Sauce (p272, Otto) used as a dressing was good, although I scaled it back so much, it's hard to know how close to the intention I was.

Wednesday/9-Sep-15: We were out all day for a wine-tasting trip that included lunch. Nothing happened in the kitchen.

Thursday/10-Sep-15: Dinner was two Lamb Steaks with Garlic, Cumin and Black Pepper (p33, Screamingly), which were quite yummy. And really easy: moosh up the garlic, cumin, and black pepper with some olive oil and spread it on the steaks. As a side there was Lemon Roasted Sweet Potatoes (p140, Screamingly), which turned out to be a really good way to do sweet potatoes, roasted with some lemon slices and rosemary, topped with a bit of Parmesan when they're done. For dessert with had vanilla ice cream with Shirley and Terry's strawberries.

Friday/11-Sep-15: Shopping today.

Dinner was Catfish Corn with Corn Hash (web) and its go-with Tomato and Zucchini Salad (web). Used eglefin/haddock for the fish, which fell apart as these things do. The fish dish was okay, but nothing fantastic. We used a home-grown tomato for the salad (Beefsteak, I think, although they're not separated). We liked the salad, but I didn't add the sugar to the dressing. Why? Mini magnums for dessert. Then we walked down with Pogo to pick tomatoes and (only) one squash. Pogo wasn't to be found when we went back. He showed up at the front door a while later, just as we were going out to search.

Saturday/12-Sep-15: Starting to work on the birthday tortilla bonanza. Made some Chile Puree (p50, TexMex). Discovered I was completely out of anchos, so made it up with a mulato and pasillas for those (plus guajillos). Wasn't as bitter as it has been, so only a dab of sugar needed. Froze up two long 1-cup jars and saved another for good old cheese enchiladas in a few days.

Tonight's dinner was Chipotle Chicken Tacos with Radish Salad (EAT-L; web), served with some smashed avocado with lime juice and a bit of cilantro. Pretty good altogether. The chicken sat around for a while in some chopped up chipotles in adobo, then got grilled. A pretty good, quick way to do kip filets. The radish salad was nothing special.

Sunday/13-Sep-15: Seeded and cooked up another batch of tomatoes on today. Used some of the purée for dinner. Will freeze the rest tomorrow.

In the spring we had bees in the chimney. Now we've got hornets. Sigh. Started a fire, but now the room is swarming. At the end of the day, they seem to be gone. Fingers crossed for tomorrow.

Used up my stash of big pasta shells to make Ricotta Stuffed Shells (web) for dinner. Froze half for another dinner. Stuffing of ricotta, mozzarella, egg, and chives. For the sauce, I used the tomato purée left from the sack that got smashed by the freezer light last week, plus a bit of extra from today's batch. Quite tasty. Then a simple salad.

Made a Pomegranate Molasses Butter Cake for dessert (web). Mixed all in the food processor. Used only 1/2cup sugar (sucre de canne) in the cake, rather than 3/4cup. For the icing, used only 1/2cup powdered sugar, rather than 1cup, with less cream. Didn't bother with the nuts, although they would have been nice. Also tasty.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: no; #4 VEG/FISH: 3
This month: #5 PASTA: no; #6 BREAD: no; #7 FotW: holiday for August; no for September

Monday, August 31, 2015

This week in the kitchen

Monday/31-Aug-15: Dinner was Spaccatelle con Tonno e Melanzane—Tuna and Aubergine (p229, Geometry). The recipe asks canned or fresh tuna, but says swordfish is traditional. I stopped at Leclerc today, but didn't see any swordfish. Since we had fresh tuna just a few days ago, I used a can. Used cascareccia instead of spaccatelle (fat chance) since they look somewhat similar. Pretty good stuff. It asked only about 5oz of pasta as a main for two. Seemed like not much, but there was plenty. I made a nice big salad, but we didn't eat it. Lunch tomorrow perhaps. (Haven't defrosted chicken for tomorrow's dinner, so will have to think of something else. Something else quicker, since I don't feel much like cooking.)

Storm came through this evening, so hope we're at the end of this little hot spell

Tuesday/1-Sep-15: Oops, didn't make yogurt last night and got up too late today to start it. On overnight.

Made up two liters/quarts of tomato purée to freeze tomorrow. Ed started the work of seeding, and I found an awful lot of seeds popping to the surface. Removed as many as possible, but this will be a suspect batch. Get to do this over again several times in the next couple of days. Both Beefsteaks and Coeur de Boeufs in this batch.

Dinner was Kitchari with Cauliflower & Peas (web), which wasn't bad, but wasn't wondeful. Added a bunch of lime pickle for salt and zip. A good one-dish meal, if a bit bland. Used chana dal instead of moong dal, of which I had none. Yellow split peas might have been a better substitute.

Wednesday/2-Sep-15: Froze almost 8 cups of tomato purée this morning. Then worked on another batch. In the fridge now, to freeze up tomorrow.

Hoping to shop tomorrow, I worked on the meal plan and list today.

Starting in on our winter squash harvest, tonight's dinner was Ravioli with Winter Squash and Sage (p288, Sunsetcookbooker). Still looking for something approximating an acorn squash, I chose Hokkaido Vert to plant for a winter squash. I was expecting it to be orange inside, instead the flesh is more yellow, thus the dinner was fairly boring to look at. And fairly boring to taste, since the squash doesn't have much in the way of flavor. The recipe was fairly interesting, but there's something wrong with it (see Cookbooker review). Then a big salad, for which I deseeded one more tomato.

Thursday/3-Sep-15: Started some chicken stock. Cleaned out the fridge freezer of bits, but think there's more in the big freezer. Oh well. Froze yesterday's batch of tomato purée. No deseeding today. Might wait till the weekend.

A couple of days ago Ed told me the eggplant plant in the potager had been cut down by something. A shame since it's almost ready to produce something. Tonight he said, No it was part of the winter squash plant. Not really hard to tell these part. Now I don't know if the squash was just broken, or if we've got squash vine borers. Maybe I'll have time to go down there tomorrow. The zucchini seeds that I planted last weekend are coming up. Don't know if we'll actually get any squash so late in the season, but it doesn't hurt to try. The first plants that came up disappeared. I think we have happy voles down there.

Worked on putting away and arranging bread recipes today. Have that pretty much in order now. Maybe I'll actually start baking some real bread one day.

Dinner was Oven-Dried Tomato Tart with Goat Cheese and Black Olives (web; cookbooker) followed by a plain salad.

While the crust was sitting in the fridge, I made up a recipes of Kathie's Zucchini Muffins (web; cookbooker). Cut the sugar back significantly (see Cookbooker) and didn't add topping. Very good. We've already eaten eight of the twelve.

The packet for the pâte feuillettée has a recipe for a tart with winter squash. Just what I need.

Friday/4-Sep-15: Shopping today.

Yipes, when I closed the lid on the tomato sauce I froze up yesterday, I'd managed to put the tray right under the light. Which forced open one of the ziplocs. What a mess!

Dinner was Salmon with Roasted Vegetables & Quinoa (web; cookbooker). This was quite good and easy. Served with a salad. Some chocolate puddings from the store for dessert.

Saturday/5-Sep-15: Defrosted the big freezer today. It was already needing it, but the tomato mess made it a requirement. Why do I dislike defrosting so much? It's really not that bad a job.

Dinner was a half recipe of Chicken with Whole-Grain Mustard & Zucchini in Packets (web; cookbooker). Served with brown rice. For dessert, there were some Cinnamon Cream Cheese Roll Ups (web); can't say I followed the directions very closely, just sort of winged it. I  had half a loaf of bread with eight slices. Used much less sugar than asked. Two each for dessert.

Sunday/6-Sep-15: Froze up 2 quarts of chicken stock today. Start in on tomatoes again tomorrow.

For dinner we had the rest of the oven-dried tomato tart plus a salad. And the rest of the cinnamon roll-up things for dessert, warmed in the toaster oven.

Progress on goals
This week: #1 BACKLOG: yes; #2 UNUSED: yes; #3 GRAINS: yes; #4 VEG/FISH: 6
This month: #5 PASTA: yes for August, no for September; #6 BREAD: no for August, no for September; #7 FotW: holiday for August; no for September